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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  November 25, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PST

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so on behalf of chevrolet, i want to say "thank you, real people." you're welcome. we're gonna need a bigger room. happening now, breaking news. after thanksgiving, house intelligence committee adam schiff said to expect the impeachment inquiry shortly after the upcoming holiday and said the refusal of top administration officials to testify may indicate they have incriminating information about president trump. don mcgahn to testify. we're awagt the first major court rule ing in the fight between house democrats and the white house on if don mcgahn must testify. and emails. president trump put -- in
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mulvaney for with holding hundreds of million dollars in military aid to ukraine. and forced out. president trump defends his order to allow a convicted sailer to stay in the navy s.e.a.l.s in a controversial case which led to the stunning firing of the navy secretary by the defense secretary. i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. breaking news. the timeline for the impeachment inquiry taking shape right now. house intelligence committee chairman adam schiff announcing today that investigators will submit a report summarizing their findings to the judiciary committee soon after thanksgiving. schiff is also warning top operation officials that lawmakers are documenting their refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas. at least one official, don mcgahn, is about to learn from the federal judge whether or not
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he'll be compelled to testify. we'll talk about all of that and plor with congressman gerry connelly of the oversight and foreign affairs committees and our correspondents and analysts will have full coverage. first let's immediately go to capitol hill where we're learning new details about the meach. our congressional correspondent phil mattingly is joining us. adam schiff said the report will catalogue the white house and administration officials who refuse to comply with subpoenas. could the president potentially face an articles of impeachment for obstruction of congress. >> it is a near certainty at this point. one of the several articles they kick around as they continue to move forward, moving on to the next steps beyond just the house intelligence committee investigation into the judiciary committee where those articles of impeachment will be drafted. on the issue of obstruction, democrats have been clear, everybody who chooses not to come in and testify and not to respond to subpoenas in a way the house would want is now
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officially on the list to some degree. as adam schiff put it in a lengthy letter to his democratic colleagues today, quote, we'll be forced to infer from this obstruction that the testimony of these witnesses would tend to incriminate the president further since he woven couraged rather than blocked the testimony of senior officials like mick mulvaney and mike pompeo and john bolton if he believed it would somehow be helpful to him. the fact that the president has uniformly instructed all executive branch agencies and senior officials to obstruct further demonstrates consciousness of guilt on the part of the president. and why this is important that it will make up an articles of impeachment it underscores the course democrats have made clear over the last several weeks, they are not willing to delay this to fight this out in court over the subpoenas, over various lawsuits. they are moving forward. and any official that doesn't comply is likely to find their name in an article of
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impeachment, wolf. >> we're awaiting a decision from a federal judge on whether the former white house lawyer don mcgahn must testify before congress. how consequential potentially will that be? >> reporter: here is why this matters. the white house over the course of several months has decided to implement a legal strategy of absolute immunity for any senior officials who used to work or continue to work inside of the white house regarding any of the democrats' various investigations. don mcgahn was subpoenaed in april. long before the latest kind of center component of the impeachment inquiry became clear but he is the first official to have a judge decide whether that absolute immunity would stand in the courts and why that matters is because that is drawn out with other administration officials. now it doesn't mean everybody will come racing through the door to testify if the judge rules against the administration but democrats are hopeful that perhaps some witnesses related to the current impeachment inquiry might reconsider their obstruction up to this point if it is found in the courts not to be a valid legal theory.
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we'll have to wait and see. but this goes in line with democrats wanting to see how this plays out in the courts to some degree. today will be the first test, wolf. >> as soon as we get that decision, we'll let our viewers know. phil mattingly, thank you very much. president trump is sounding off on the latest developments in the impeachment investigation. our correspondent jim acosta is joining us now. what are hearing at the white house? >> reporter: president trump continued to voice his support for his personal attorney rudy giuliani after the new york city mayor claimed he was joking when he said he had insurance just in case he's thrown under the bus in the impeachment inquiry and the president said he still has confidence in mick mulvaney each though questions are swirling about what they were doing when they held up military aid to crane. president trump insists he's not worried that his personal attorney rudy giuliani will turn against him in the meach. >> rudy is a great guy.
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and and he covered that himself. he's a great crime fighter. probably the best in 50 years. >> i think the press isn't treating rudy very well and i think that is unfair. >> reporter: for the second time this month giuliani suggested he has an insurance policy to make sure he's not made the scapegoat in the dirt for dollars deal with ukraine. >> you could assume that i talked to him early and often. and have a very, very good relationship with him and all of these comments, which are totally insulting, i've seen things like he's going to throw me under the bus. when i say that, he isn't but i have insurance. >> reporter: after making tho those comments he maintained he was only kidding, truth alert, the statement i've made several times of having an insurance policy if thrown under bus is sarcastic. >> [ inaudible question ]. >> yes, i do. >> reporter: the president told reporters he continues to have confidence in acting chief of staff mick mulvaney. washington post reported
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mulvaney and top budget officials were searching for a legal rationale why there was a hold on money to ukraine over the summer. democrats say it is another reason mulvaney should testify. >> he told everybody to accept it and get over that so we know basically what they were up to. he should come forward and speak forthrightly to the committee but that is obviously going to be tough to do. >> reporter: but democrats aren't holding their breath. pointing out that some republicans are warming up to the president's bogus conspiracy theory that ukraine meddled in the 2016 election contrary to the u.s. intelligence community. >> was it russia or ukraine. >> i don't know. nor do you. nor do any of us. miss hill -- >> well let me interrupt to say the entire intelligence community said it was russia. >> right. but it could also be ukraine. >> reporter: prominent
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conservatives like energy secretary rick perry are putting their faith in mr. trump entertaining the notion he may have been chosen by god to be president. >> i said mr. president, i know you say you were the chosen one and i said you were. i said if you're a believing christian you understand god's plan for the people who rule and judge over us on this planet in our government. >> reporter: the president isn't spending much time second guessing his decision to block disciplinary action taken against navy s.e.a.l. eddie gallagher. mr. trump defended his actions that resulted in the firing of the secretary of the navy who wrote a letter saying he could not follow the president's orders. >> i think i'm sticking up for our armed forces. i will stick up for the warriors. >> reporter: a white house source tells cnn rudy giuliani is on the president's legal team
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and reiterated he was only joking about having an insurance policy but a reminder of what happened with michael cohen who went to prison because he was involved in a scheme aimed at covering up mr. trump's crimes but talking about it seems like an odd joke during an impeachment inquiry. >> sure does. jim acosta. thank you. let's discuss the news with gerry connelly on the house oversight and foreign affairs committee. congressman, thanks for joining us. let's get immediately to the lengthy letter that the house intelligence chairman adam schiff has now distributing saying that you are learning additional information in his words almost every day. if that is true, congressman, how you could hand off a report to the judiciary committee as soon as next week? >> well, the fact that we're continuing to learn information doesn't mean that we somehow
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stop or delay the process that we're undertaken. i think we have plenty of evidence in front of us without requiring additional information or evidence to proceed with the impeachment of this president. >> according to "the washington post," the white house made the decision to withhold money for ukraine and then later tried to find ways to justify the decision. why not try to obtain those documents or testimony once again from people like mick mulvaney before you complete your report? >> again, wolf, that would question a legitimate line of inquiry. and if we had all of the time in the world, this would be an exhaustive, i don't know, multi-year effort. but we have some sense of urgency given the behavior of the president of the united states in the oval office. many of us are deeply alarmed about allowing him to continue in this behavior and we need to call it out now.
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we have the evidence we think we need to proceed with impeachment. and frankly the senate will have enough evidence to convict him. they won't. but they won't for purely partisan political reasons. but additional evidence is great. but i don't think it is necessary in this case. >> all right -- >> in order to proceed. >> we're awaiting the federal judge's decision that could come any minute now. that former white house council don mcgahn whether he needs to testify before congress. would you want chairman schiff to slow down the process and push harder for other witnesses if the u.s. federal judge rules that, yes, don mcgahn must appear before congress? >> i think we can be on parallel tracks. so there are a list of desirable witnesses, don mcgahn is one of them. john bolton is another. obviously mick mulvaney is another. that we'd like to hear from. but i don't think it should derail the other track of
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proceeding with the evidence we have which is compelling. i will say, you pointed out earlier in the report, that we're likely to name people who refuse to cooperate with subpoenas. i think those people are putting themselves in grave legal jeopardy because whatever happens with impeachment, the defiant of the legislative branch with legitimately issued subpoenas is a matter for continued prosecution and i think puts a lot of people in legal jeopardy and hopefully we won't let that go. >> we're getting new reporting, congressman. and don't want to read to you what we're learning right now and get your reaction from our reporters kara scannell and vicki ward and carl a black. associates of rudy giuliani they say have launched a broad investigation that could include criminal charges ranging from conspiracy, obstruction of justice, campaign finance violations and money laundering according to a subpoena sent to
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at least one witness and seen by cnn. and then the report continues. the grand jury subpoena describes the range of charges that are being considered and it appears to signal that prosecutors are also looking at the associates relationship with rudy giuliani and specifically giuliani business. what is your reaction to this? >> i was listening to the interview with rudy giuliani a little while ago that you played and now this information. it is like watching and listening to the fourth sequel of the godfather saga. rudy giuliani, who was a highly touted prosecutor of organized crime, has now sadly decided to emulate them. and i think it is a very serious state of affairs. mr. giuliani has surrounded himself with criminal elements
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apparently and i think he could get caught up in that. and of course, leave it to donald trump to praise him as a great lawyer and a great figure when he is now the subject of a criminal investigation. >> it is a criminal investigation. but these are alleged crimes. these two individuals, these giuliani associates have not yet been convicted of any crime. but how much trouble -- we know that rudy giuliani himself is being investigated. how much trouble potentially do you think that the former new york mayor, the president's private attorney is in right now? >> you know, i'm not a lawyer and i'm not privy to the investigation that is ongoing. but i will note that these two associates of his who were clearly known to donald trump have been indicted. and giuliani himself apparently is a subject of criminal investigation. though he has not yet been indicted for a crime. so we'll have to see how this
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plays out. but i would say that giuliani is in grave legal jeopardy. >> we contacted giuliani and i want to point out what you pointed out, he's not been accused of any criminal wrongdoing and he previously told cnn that he has not heard from prosecutors and his attorney robert costello could not immediately be reached for comment. but we'll follow these developments very, very closely. congressman connelly, thanks so much for joining us. >> my pleasure, wolf. >> we'll have a lot more on the late-breaking developments involving the president's personal attorney rudy giuliani. giuliani insists he was only joking when he spoke about having a so-called insurance policy on president trump. if he were dumped or thrown under the bus. so what is going on? we have more information coming into the situation room. we made usaa insurance for members like martin.
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if this investigation and from that we've learned that federal prosecutors are looking at this as a broad investigation. they are considering a range of possible criminal charges which include lying to federal investigators, conspiracy against the u.s., wire fraud, money laundering and acting as an unregistered foreign agent. that doesn't mean that any charges will necessarily be brought but it does show how broad investigators are looking at this as they investigate rudy giuliani's associate lev parnas and igor freeman and learned from the spe from the subpoena they are asking questions about giuliani and his security form giuliani partners as part of the subpoena they're asking for any communications and documents relating to any actual or potential payments that were made to giuliani so it indicates that investigators are taking a close look at what kind of business relationship giuliani had with these men or others that are now being part of the potential witness kagtd here that is in this investigation. and we've also learned they're asking for any documents and
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communications relating to political contributions to america first action. that is the pro-trump super-pac set up after the election. that superpac said they are voluntarily cooperating with investigators and have not been subpoenaed. >> and i assume they're looking into the money, the hundreds of thousands of dollars that giuliani received from at least one of the individuals. lev parnas, is that right? >> reporter: yes, wolf. that seems clear from the subpoena, they're asking about any of the actual or potential payments and what we reported last week was that prosecutors were interviewing the fbi agents and knocking on doors of donors and fundraisers and one of the questions that was approached was pitching this into fraud guarantee, the company these men ran that paid giuliani half a million dollars so they have reached out to one business man who was approached by these gentlemen to invest in the business that paid giuliani. that seems to be a key piece of information that they're
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pursuing in the subpoena, wolf. >> are they looking into whether giuliani should have registered as a foreign agent. that is one of the charges against the two other individuals. >> reporter: so in this subpoena what is known as the fara case, not registering as a foreign agency, that is one of the potential crimes that prosecutors are exploring here and this does raise questions of who was giuliani acting for when he was traveling around the world and working with -- to dig up dirt on joe biden, donald trump's presidential rival here in the upcoming election. now giuliani has maintained that his clients was the president, that he was not working for any foreign government and giuliani has said he's not heard from prosecutors. he said he doesn't know why they are looking at him for foreign lobbying but he's maintained he's done nothing wrong, wolf. >> and his attorney i'm told has not yet responded to our request, is that right. >> reporter: that is right. we've not heard from giuliani's lawyer but we have talked to giuliani about this in the past
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because it has been something that has been circulating around him and he has denied any wrongdoing. he maintained he was lobbying only for the president and hi his clint so he couldn't violate the foreign lobbying laws and maintained he does nothing wrong. >> and the president voiced today his support for rudy giuliani rather significantly. kara scannell, good reporting. awe have a lot to follow up. we have excellent analysts and reporters here and we'll continue our coverage of all of this right after a quick break. . it's a competition for the talent. employees need more than just a paycheck. you definitely want to take advantage of all the benefits you can get. 2/3 of employees said that the workplace is an important source for personal savings and protection solutions. the workplace should be a source of financial security. keeping your people happy is what keeps your people. that's financial wellness. put your employees on a path to financial wellness with prudential.
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breaking news. we're standing by for a ruling by a federal judge that could compel the former white house counsel don mcgahn to testify before congress. we'll discuss withure experts and analysts. we're waiting for the decision that could come at any moment. the u.s. district court judge brown-jackson, we're waiting for her decision. >> that is going to be a really significant decision in sort of the discretion of the impeachment inquiry. this is the first significant test of the white house's claim of this absolute immunity. the idea that former white house officials do not have to comply with congressional subpoenas at all. now that is going to be significant not just for don
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mcgahn's individual testimony, it might determine whether or not the house of representatives decides to also look into the issues of obstruction of justice outside of the ukraine investigations, things related to the mueller investigation or if instead they'll decide just to pursue possible articles of impeachment related to ukraine. but of course whatever decision is reached in the don mcgahn case, that will have some significance of showing where courts might be headed for people like mick mulvaney and other individuals that -- >> if this district court judge rules that mcgahn has to testify, i assume the white house would appear it to the court of appeals and the supreme court and that could drag on. >> it could. but this could be the effect of calling the white house's bluff. and don mcgahn doesn't object to testifying and he wants to know what the courts will say and wants to understand whether or not he has this legal obligation i think if they're appealing again and again this political currency of saying we're trying to understand the scope of the law here, that is a much harder argument and look a lot more
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like the white house is trying to cover something up. >> just to add, i watched adam schiff the chairman of the house intelligence committee with jake yesterday. and jake asked him about this. because there is a "new york times" op-ed and there is uneasiness chatter of are they moving too fast and waiting for the rulings to come down because as susan mentioned, this is don mcgahn but obviously will have some implication with mulvaney, pompeo, giuliani, et cetera, vis-a-vis ukraine. his answer was we're not going to let the administration try to run out the clock on this. we know they want to just delay, delay, delay, and appeal, appeal, appeal and we feel like we have enough right now. but that is clearly a strategic decision that if it doesn't wind out playing out the way that adam schiff may think it will or wanted it to, he will be questioned about it. >> and let me read the letter that adam schiff circulated today. he said the investigative work continues and we're learning
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additional information almost every day. but while we will continue to our investigative work and do not foreclose the possibility of further depositions or hearings and we will not allow the president and others to drag this for months on end in the courts. the chris six of schiff and company is that this is so important, why not turn over every stone before a final report is written? >> well they have a certain amount of time here. this is a politically-driven process. let's recognize it for what it is and they have less than a year before the election is here. so that is one thing. but they will make the argument as chairman schiff does in the letter they have done a lot in a short amount of time. it has been about six weeks. they've talked to 12 witnesses before the public, before the american public, they've had 17 folks come in for depositions behind closed doors and what chairman schiff said in his letter is that it is clear that there has been wrongdoing by president trump and also said there is evidence of criminal
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intent. so they do think they have a case even though they haven't turned over every stone. and they will make the argument as chris said that those folks who are not coming forth are doing so because the white house told them not to and that is evidence that they are obstructing -- >> and remember part of the mueller issue, once the mueller report came out and the struggle with trying to litigate out politically speaking, so many of the witnesses they wanted to call simply would not comply. >> sabrina, let's talk about rudy giuliani. you've seen our breaking news reporting that has been going on that given some of the subpoenas that have been issued involving h his two associates have already been indicted, they could potentially looking seriously at potential charges against him? >> yes, this is the clearest indication yet that federal prosecutors are examining rudy giuliani's consulting work. and one of the entities that was listed in these subpoenas is a
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firm that was founded by giuliani in 2002 and had multiple foreign clients including in a city in ukraine. now there are several potential charges that are listed in these subpoenas and those include money laundering, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to defraud the united states as well as a failure to comply with the laws around registering as a foreign agent. those are just some of the potential charges that are under consideration at this point in time. it certainly signals an increasing amount of trouble for giuliani who so far said he has not been contacted by prosecutors. he maintains his innocence. but he is facing mounting pressure as he's also at the center of the impeachment inquiry named explicitly by several former and current administration officials for the very central role he played in this scheme to withhold aid from
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ukraine for political investigations sought by the president. so the question now is does president trump stand by giuliani or does he go the route that he did with his former personal attorney michael cohen and try to distance himself from giuliani which will of course be difficult to do given there were officials who also made it very clear that a lot of what was happening with ukraine was in fact at the direction of the president and not just rudy giuliani going rogue. >> how much trouble, susan, potentially is the president's personal lawyer rudy giuliani in right now? >> so all we know for sure is that they are investigating very, very serious charges here and that giuliani should be extremely concerned. now if giuliani is affirmative defense is, hey, i was just doing what the president of the united states asked me to do, that is going to put a lot of pressure on giuliani to produce evidence of what the president told him. the specifics of their communication. that is why it is so significant to see the president saying things today like that giuliani is a good man, that he's been treated unfairly. that is the exact same language that the president used about michael flynn and paul manafort,
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both of those were instances that mueller determined where the president dangling a pardon to prevent people or incentivize them from cooperating with investigators. >> and remember donald trump spoke glowingly of michael cohen and follow the money, how did michael cohen get brought down? because of the donations to stormy daniels. where did the money come from. what did you do with it? there is going to be and we'll see it a money trail here as related to parnas and fruman and rudy giuliani. that is a problem. it is not hearsay. you could track where the money come from and where did it wind up and who was in the middle of that. >> the superpac committee. stand by. there is more news. president trump is strongly defending his decision to intervene in the case of the u.s. navy s.e.a.l. accused of war crimes. we'll have more on that and all of the breaking news right after a quick break.
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and we're going to protect our war fighters and i've been given a lot of thank yous. >> barbara starr is joining us. we're hearing conflictive narratives among the president and the former navy secretary, what is going on. >> reporter: very conflicting narratives. president trump tweeting that spencer was fired because of cost overrunned in navy programs. there may be cost overruns but that is not the reason that mark esper said that the navy chief had to go. mark esper speaking to reporters today said he simply lost trust and confidence in spencer and was flabbergasted when he found out last friday that spencer was talking to the white house behind his back about a secret channel to try and get a fix in if you will on eddie gallagher being able to keep his navy status upon retirement. listen to a little bit of what mark esper had to say about
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this. >> secretary spencer broke the rules and thus lost my trust and confidence. contrary to the narrative that someone could put forward in the media, this dismissal is not about eddie gallagher. it is about secretary spencer and the chain of command. >> soes per feels that pencer went behind his back and violated his chain of command and didn't tell anybody what he was doing and that is the reason mark esper wanted him terminated but we have spencer's view of this and he wrote a letter where he said he was standing on principle and could no longer serve the president of the united states because of the gallagher situation and because of him being allowed to keep his navy status without a review. but at the end of the day, gallagher is gone, the president got what he wanted and the pentagon right now hopes to move on from all of this. the secretary, the former secretary of the navy, not acknowledging that he had that back channel communication,
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wolf. >> barbara, the president got what he wanted here but how is this likely to be received among the rank and file? >> well, to be very blunt, wolf, there is a very strong feeling that president trump, frankly, on a factual basis, listened to fox news commentators on this entire situation and that gallagher got -- and his lawyers got fox news' ear so the big worry now is a couple of things. that basically those who have committed misconduct in the military feel if they could just get the president's ear, possibly through fox news, they could be excused from their misconduct without a processing of their case. there is a concern also this fundamentally sends mixed signals to the troops. the military operates by the rules, by the book with very strict procedures and very much from the beginning this case was prosecuted in an unusual fashion and the handling of the president's intervention into
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the military justice system while he has the right to do it, as commander-in-chief, an awful lot of folks feel that maybe he shouldn't have done it, wolf. >> thank you. barbara starr at the pentagon. we're standing down for a chinese national -- for a chinese official entering trump's mar-a-lago. ty-- --and ultra-fast speeds. almost 2 gigs here in minneapolis. that's 25 times faster than today's network in new york city. so people from midtown manhattan-- --to downtown denver-- --can experience what our 5g can deliver. (woman) and if verizon 5g can deliver performance like this in these places... it's pretty crazy. ...just imagine what it can do for you. ♪
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. we have breaking news coming into the "situation room." a chinese national convicted of sneaking into the president's mar-a-lago resident has just been confirmed. what's going on? >> learning moments ago from our colleagues in florida a federal judge sentenced this woman to 8 months in prison, seems to include time served and she could be released in about 5 days, according to folks in the courtroom in florida. that woman who committed the
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breach in mar-a-lago still in prison. and the security gaps and whether they have been addressed. >> it was an audacious entry. the chinese national who walked onto the president's mar-a-lago resort could be on her way to prison. she gave different excuses at three security checkpoints why she was there at mar-a-lago including the was there to use the pool even though she was wearing an evening gown. it was what she carried with her that had national security experts concerned. >> she carried a modern day's burglar kit. >> she had a thumb drive,
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laptop, four thumb drives and four cell phones and five sim cards to change a number and usb drive and thousands of dollars in cash and signal detector, device for hidden cameras. the one question answered at trial was whether yujingzhang was a spy for the chinese. the case has been part of a potential probe for spying agents. it's possible she wasn't a spy or informal operative not highly trained, someone who chinese officials loosely sent in to test security. >> to see how easy it is to get into mar-a-lago and if she does get there in she could have basic intelligence as to what people are in mar-a-lago, or how do you get to where president
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trump might be. >> president trump was not on the property at the time of that incident but it continues to raise questions about the security at mar-a-lago. the beginning of last year, the president and first lady were at the residence when an 18-year-old college student walked from the beach onto to grounds. he was searched for weapons but wasn't stopped from entering and reportedly walked around the estate for 20 minutes before secret service agents saw him acting strangely. >> the threat will come from someone who trespasses or gets close or wants to see him. >> former assistant secretary chab ba and others say it lies in the fact it's a resort with guests and club members constantly shuttling out even when the president is there. >> it's a disaster waiting to happen. the family corridors are just off a corridor, that's all. people are walking all around there.
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it's crazy. >> breaking news, this woman has been sentenced to 8 months in prison and seems to include time served and could be out in 5 days. has the secret security enhanced the security since last november. they have not gotten back to us on that but chapa says they have tightened up security a great deal since those two incidents including intelligence gathering at the compound. >> i understand this woman behaved strangely at her trial. is that right? >> that's putting it mildly. she refused to hire a defense attorney and delayed sentencing today saying she hasn't had a chance to review documents the judge clearly said she had a chance to review and during the trial thought her trial was canceled and wants to delay the trial when she claims she didn't have the right underwear. >> the president and first lady officially moved their permanent
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residence to florida and are now residents of florida. coming up, federal prosecutors taking a close look at a business owned by rudy guiliani. is his personal attorney in serious legal jeopardy? it'll ruin your house. so get allstate and be better protected from mayhem, like meow.
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i'm wolf blitzer in the "situation room." we're following breaking news. a federal judge's ruling whether the former white house counsel, mcgahn must testify before congress has concluded moments ago and the judge handed down he must in fact talk to house verksz. we're following the breaking news. evan, tell us about the judge's decision. >> her ruling essentially means that the president does not have absolute immunity, at least according to her. obviously, this is not the final word. we expect fully the justice department is going to appeal this ruling. right now,

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